FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT DUI IN ARIZONA
ARIZONA DUI FAQS
Our experienced Arizona DUI attorneys take a look at some of the most asked questions regarding driving under the influence and DUI/DWI in Maricopa, Pima, and Pinal Counties in Arizona. The criminal defense lawyers that comprise our DUI Team are seasoned in Criminal defense and DUI defense in Arizona. Contact us with any additional questions or if you would like a consultation. Both the advice and the consultation are free. Plus, our consults are 100% confidential. We look forward to assisting you
DUI stands for Driving Under the Influence, but is interchangeable with DWI. You can be charged with DUI not just for being under the influence of alcohol, but of marijuana, prescription pills, and other drugs that affect your ability to drive. When alcohol is involved, impairment is measured using a breathalyzer to calculate BAC, or blood alcohol content. The officer may also conduct field sobriety tests and take the driver for blood testing to determine the driver’s level of intoxication.
Contrary to popular belief, the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) while driving in Arizona isn’t strictly .08 percent. A BAC of .08% is presumed intoxication, but a police officer may use their discretion in determining if a driver is intoxicated for a BAC of .04-.079 percent. If you are driving a commercial vehicle, the legal BAC limit is .04 percent. Anyone under the age of 21 may receive a DUI in Arizona for any BAC higher than 0 percent.
Arizona has harsher penalties for a DUI conviction than any other state. In many states, you will receive only a slap on the wrist for a first DUI offense. Arizona has mandatory jail time for even first convictions. There will also be mandatory restrictions on your license, fines, and other potential punishments. You may also be denied employment, occupational licenses, and membership to certain organizations in the future due to a DUI conviction. The judge may order you to complete community service or driving or alcohol treatment courses.
There are four circumstances in which you can be charged with DUI in Arizona. These are when you are driving under the influence and:
Have a child younger than 15 years old in the car with you;
You have received 2 or more DUIs in the past 7 years;
Your driver’s license was suspended or revoked; or
You had an interlock device installed in your vehicle.
The first type of Aggravated DUI is a class 6 felony, and the rest are class 4 felonies, as opposed to only being misdemeanors. Therefore, the penalties will be far harsher if you receive an Aggravated DUI. The penalties will be even more severe if you have any previous felonies on your record, your BAC was especially high, etc.
The most common defense to a DUI charge in Arizona is a probable cause argument. You may have a strong defense in your case if the officer didn’t have a constitutional reason to pull you over. There can also be issues with the reading on breathalyzers, either due to device failure, mishandling, radiation, or some medical conditions which can cause a faulty reading. You may be able to have evidence excluded if the arresting officer failed to read you your Miranda Rights or otherwise interfered with your constitutional rights.
The jail time for a first offense in Arizona will range from 1-10 days. Your driver’s license will be suspended for 90 days to 1 year, and you will be required to use an interlock device for at least 6 months. You will be fined at least $1,480. For all levels of DUI, you will be required to obtain SR-22, or high risk insurance. This will usually cost at least twice as much as your usual car insurance. You may be required to pay an installation fee for your interlock device, and will have to pay a monthly fee as long as you are required to use it.
The jail time for a second offense will range from 30-90 days. Your driver’s license will be suspended for at least one year, and you will be required to use an interlock device for at least one year. The fine for a second offense is usually at least $3,000.
For a third DUI arrest, you will be facing a minimum of 4 months in jail. Your driver’s license, again, will be suspended for at least one year. When you do get your license back, you will need to use an interlock device for at least one year. The fine for at least a third offense will usually start around $3,250.
If your BAC at the time of your arrest is between .15-.199%, you will be charged with Extreme DUI. The minimum jail time for a first arrest increases to 30 days for an Extreme DUI charge, and the minimum fine increases to $3,000. If your BAC is .20% or more, you will be charged with Super Extreme DUI. The minimum jail time for a Super Extreme DUI increases to 45 days, and the minimum fine increases to $3,250. Your penalties will be even harsher if your Extreme or Super Extreme DUI is not your first DUI charge.
You can be charged with a DUI if you aren’t driving but are in “actual physical control of the vehicle.” Sitting in the driver’s seat with the keys in the ignition may be enough for a DUI conviction. Call a cab, or sleep it off in the backseat if that isn’t possible.